Company weighs in to manage jail construction

Staff reporter

Marion County Commission heard the pitch Monday from Hutton Construction regarding having the company be the construction manager for a proposed new jail.

Even though the company has never built a jail before, the commission was told that there was personnel in the company that had and was confident the company could build it.

Currently the company is the construction management firm for two building projects for USD 408 in Marion — a performing arts center and indoor swimming pool/gymnasium complex.

The commission was considering that option as part of the bond issue that will be on the November election ballot, asking county voters to support a new jail facility.

Earlier in the meeting the commission approved a one percent sales tax increase to cover bond payments if voters approve the construction.

The commission asked Hutton Construction to make a presentation regarding the firm's services.

Mike King and Jim Costello of Hutton Construction presented information and answered questions.

King explained there were two types of construction management — at-risk and agent. Hutton Construction was an at-risk construction management company which means the company accepts the responsibility of making sure the project is completed to the design specifications and within the proposed budget.

He continued that the firm will sit down with the architect and develop a budget.

"From there our risks will begin," King said. "If the project comes in over budget, the difference comes out of our pockets. If it comes in under budget, the savings goes back to the county."

Savings retained by a general contractor would be kept by the general contractor.

"We're usually within five percent of the final number," King said.

During the development process, the company will determine a fee. It is not a straight percentage fee.

Three bids will be obtained for each phase of work.

Commissioner Dan Holub said he wanted to see local contractors being used as much as possible. King said he wanted the county involved in who builds the facility.

Costello said the project can be divided so local contractors can bid.

"We'll solicit bids and bring them to the county to choose," Costello said. "With a general contractor, you would lose that opportunity."

King said the construction management company needs to be involved in the design process which means the commission needed to make a decision in the near future.

During construction, King said the company would provide quality control and assurance that the county is getting what it's paying for.

He continued that the architect will come once a week or so, but they will be here every day.

"We keep everybody on schedule from design all the way through," Costello said.

Commissioner Randy Dallke asked who would be responsible in the end. King responded, "We would." Hutton would be responsible for the construction and the architect for the design.

"What if the bond issue doesn't pass? How are the fees established?" Holub asked. Costello said there would be a small pre-construction fee established in the beginning of the process.

King said the company had a full-time mechanical engineer on staff to help with shop drawings and air quality which will be a major issue.

Hutton Construction also had a licensed architect on staff and can offer creativity in promoting the project to the county.

"We don't leave the project when it's done," King said, saying there are technicians who make at least 15 visits within the first year.

If there is a problem, there are people on-call 24 hours a day to respond.

"Some companies ship superintendents around from site to site," King said. "We'll have the same superintendent on the project."

"That's what's good," commission chairman Bob Hein said.

When asked if they could work with Law Kingdon Architects, King responded the company had worked with 16 different architects last year.

"It would be a privilege to work with Law Kingdon," he said.